Author Topic: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?  (Read 4092 times)

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jmclarke

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What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« on: Jan 26, 2015, 10:14 am »
Hello...

I have a pretty standard question, although I can't find a previous answer to this question on the forums. What is considered "good" pay for touring gigs? What can you really live on?

I have an interview today with a dance competition company who is going on tour for the next 6 months all over the US. They pay for a place to stay, but as far as I can tell, you don't get a per diem, and they pay anywhere from 30$ (travel day when flying), $60 (for load in), to $125 (for show days, and this is the maximum base salary).

I've never been on tour, but I have plenty of friends who have. As far as I can tell, per diems are pretty standard, so I think it's odd that this is not covered. And the salary, to me, seems low, but I have no base idea on this kind of thing.

I was originally considered for an SM position, but have now been shuffled into interviewing for a different position which is nothing like stage management, but still gets me the touring "experience" I need for my resume.

Does this seem like a good gig? Or should I hold out for an actual SM position that may pay better?

Any and all advice would be welcome, I'm just trying to start my career and finding it very difficult to do.

NomieRae

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Re: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 26, 2015, 05:25 pm »
I'm unsure how they are getting around paying per diem, seems odd to me.

Honestly, you'd have to look at the schedule and figure out what a weekly paycheck is like and if you can pay your bills and save some for a rainy day.

Do take into consideration the emotional toll of touring, living out of a suitcase, eating at restaurants or continental breakfasts, being away from a gym, away from friends & family, if your health insurance is universal, etc.

Everyone has to decide what their "good enough" is especially in regards to non-union and freelance.

Sorry I couldn't be more help, but everyone's situation is different.
--Naomi
"First, I honor life, and with it my life in theatre." -- Jacques Burdick

LizzG

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Re: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 27, 2015, 06:28 am »
Like NormieRae said, it really depends on your situation.  'Good pay' for touring is very very good.  But those types of jobs are very competitive. 

Mac Calder

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Re: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 27, 2015, 08:07 am »
Generally, tour should pay better than a house gig.

So... I always assume a minimum of 7.6 hours 'worked' per day on a tour (Australia has a 'standard' work week of 38 hours) - that is because my earning potential is at least 7.6 hours a day. So they are looking at an hourly rate of $16.45 per hour on a show day - I would be arguing that a load in day should be paid the same as a show day. Travel days are fairly commonly half days. I cannot advise as to whether that is a decent rate in the US... here in Aus, I would probably laugh at them and ask for a serious offer.

Omitting paying PD's is of concern too - living away from home has a number of hidden costs that PD's are designed to make up for - things like laundry, not being able to cook your own meals each day etc.

What is your travel schedule like? is it fly out from home day 1 and return 183 days later or is it multiple short jaunts? If it is the first, you may need to look at putting everything into storage (costs) but can potentially let your lease lapse - if it is multiple short jaunts you may have to maintain a residence (different costs) - your personal situation may mean that you don't have those associated costs in one or either scenario, so take that into consideration.

jmclarke

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Re: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 27, 2015, 12:28 pm »
Ok I have a bit more information after the interview...

There are per diems, they do have them for travel days, etc. just like normal tours. It just wasnt specified on the website.

Travel and everything is covered, and no its not a straight tour where I leave for 6 months, it's short little bursts where I leave on Thursdays and come home Mondays. For this being my first tour, I think this might be a little better for me?

Because of this I think the "hidden" costs Mac was talking about wont be a problem, since I'll be able to come home for a few days.

Does anyone else have any advice for me?

I'm just new to touring and am not totally sure how all this works! Thank you for all your help!

LizzG

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Re: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 29, 2015, 12:33 am »
I would agree about asking more for load-in days.  They can often be harder than show days.  The pay is a bit low for the standard small bus and truck (especially when you consider you'll only get paid for 3 days a week), but if you can swing it, it might be a way for you to break into the touring market.

ambrosialx

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Re: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 30, 2015, 09:44 am »
My first touring gig out of university was $100 non show days (rehearsals, travel etc) and 125 for show days plus 31/day per dium...diem? It was short jaunts like you with a company that toured part time. It was a good gig right out of the bat, some companies make up the difference in pay with a) being amazing people, and b) adding a lot to the touring experience (We got a lot of activities organized for us that we wouldn't have been able to do other wise like private winery tours and behind the scenes at the zoo!). Touring is a difficult business to break into sometimes. If they seem like a good company that treats their people well and you can pay your bills and then some I say go for it. But keep in mind PD goes fast and you will want to spend more money than you normally would (at least I did!) and get in the habit of buying whatever groceries you can use in a hotel room or pack your lunches for the week before you set out! Also resist the urge to drink your PD it's a bad habit that is VERY hard to kick (she says 6 years in and still drinking her PD away).
  Have fun! Make yourself get out and see the sights touring can be a great opportunity to see places you never would otherwise!
"I will prepare and someday my chance will come"

RuthNY

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Re: What is a "good" pay for touring gigs?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 30, 2015, 11:05 am »
Here in the USA, when it comes to tax time and per diem, there are some things you should know:

If you DO NOT spend all the per diem paid to you, anything left over is taxable.

If you spend monies above your per diem, on per diem items, those monies spent become a tax deduction. Of course if you are audited, you must have substantiation for both of the above.

(Disclaimer: I am not a tax expert giving tax advice, I am simply sharing my past experiences.)

My first touring gig out of university was $100 non show days (rehearsals, travel etc) and 125 for show days plus 31/day per dium...diem? It was short jaunts like you with a company that toured part time. It was a good gig right out of the bat, some companies make up the difference in pay with a) being amazing people, and b) adding a lot to the touring experience (We got a lot of activities organized for us that we wouldn't have been able to do other wise like private winery tours and behind the scenes at the zoo!). Touring is a difficult business to break into sometimes. If they seem like a good company that treats their people well and you can pay your bills and then some I say go for it. But keep in mind PD goes fast and you will want to spend more money than you normally would (at least I did!) and get in the habit of buying whatever groceries you can use in a hotel room or pack your lunches for the week before you set out! Also resist the urge to drink your PD it's a bad habit that is VERY hard to kick (she says 6 years in and still drinking her PD away).
  Have fun! Make yourself get out and see the sights touring can be a great opportunity to see places you never would otherwise!
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
--Alan Alda

 

riotous